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Mary Roach Education. (2013) The popular explorer of taboo science projects answers viewers' questions live.

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Mary Roach 24, Johnson 10, San Francisco 8, Us 8, Nasa 6, California 5, Mars 5, Tennessee 5, Ray Bradbury 5, Uranus 4, London 4, Bill Bryson 3, U.s. 3, New York 3, Google 3, France 2, England 2, Washington 2, Wikipedia 2, Vatican 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV In Depth    Mary Roach  Education.  (2013) The popular explorer of  
   taboo science projects answers viewers' questions live.  

    July 13, 2013
    9:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

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with william perry, former deputy assistant secretary for energy and minerals that the department of the interior during the reagan administration who recounts president reagan's efforts to balance environmental protection and economic growth. visit booktv.org for more of this weekend's television schedule. >> author and journalist mary roach with the popular explorer of science topics talk about living in space, and zero reddick, trying to prove the existence of an afterlife and the strange world of the human digestive system. the former salon.com, mrs. robert five books including a the best sellers "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers," at 11 after 2013 release "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". thune mary roach, how did elvis died? >> area here is the models based on research, he was a victim of
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severe constipation and sudden death. >> host: how did you find out? >> guest: at found that out one fine day when i was talking to somebody at the armed forces institute, and it suggests some difficulties, internal difficulties, the woman happened to say to me, personally died of that, i went what, and i spent a day with doctors and learned about the king's troubles with severe constipation. >> host: who was his doctor? >> host: dr. nick nickowpollis. it was lovely, it was the anniversary of elvis's death, and hard-core fans who come to
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graceland and memphis who were milling around. dr. nicholas doing a memorial tribute went over to his house, the house and all this bill from webmac when in the 70s, and great big rooms. he and his wife had not, furniture was quite far apart and i would try to lean down, try to get slightly to get the coffee cup down and we talked about elvis and every now and then, would pop up with an observation or comment about priscilla presley rescinding, a dispatch from the nation of etna. >> what you learn from dr. nick? >> i was there -- i should
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explain "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal," the subtitle is "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" so it is everything from that detail. is a to do with constipation, is it possible to die of constipation, a year sometimes about people who died upon the toilet, would be appropriate with elvis but i was interested in this notion because most people assume it was drugs, an overdose that killed elvis, and the actual moment of death as far as i could tell from the autopsy, the cause of death was the fatal heart arrhythmia which can come on when someone is straining at school so the moment of death would appear to have been dedication associated so i thought i need to talk to
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dr. nick, a lovely gracious man is thes and invited me in and we sat around and had coffee and chatted about elvis and constipation and things. >> host: where did you get the idea to write "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal"? >> guest: "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" is still mary roachable. a wonder right didn't write about this topic before. it is a taboo subject. i enjoy writing about taboo topics, particularly that relate to the human body partly because it is fun to play with taboo because everybody stays away from it, therefore all the more for me to play with. i am the bottom feeder of nonfiction. i will take that, you don't want to do it i will do it. i think people, anything that is taken away and made taboo people are secretly fascinated with
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kind of like somebody says you are on a diet that you can't have any desert or something so that is what you crave, people are both repulsed and drawn to it and want a peak bob heintz the curtain so i am pulling the curtain apart for people and also when it is your body you are talking about the taboo does as a disservice, sometimes people have health concerns, people talk to the doctor, elvis presley's problems, those are things that because it is taboo people don't want to bring it up, they feel embarrassed, constipation is an embarrassing thing to talk about. >> host: you right there is an undeniable feeling i have had ten times in my life, a mix of wonder, privilege, humidity and on that borders on fear. with the northern lights
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whipping over had seemingly close dropped to my knees. and look at of sparkling smear of the galaxy. what experience where you having when you wrote this? what made you have that feeling? >> i decided to get my first colonoscopy without any drugs because i wanted to see what it looked like in there. my feeling was this is your own body and this opportunity, very rare opportunity to see these miraculous parts of you that our day in and day out doing these amazing things and i thought okay, i am going to observe this, i am going to see my own:and i expected to feel the emotions i am describing in the passage that you just read when in fact i felt mild to moderate
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cramping. that had been my hope, that it would be a transcendent experience and it was actually an amazing thing to witness. the intermittent sharp pain and discomfort kind of distracted me from my goal of what the feelings. >> host: mary roach, there's the national museum of health and medicine in washington. >> that is the home of the mega:that inspired the trip to memphis to visit with dr. nick, elvis's personal physician for many years. that is what brought on this whole chapter. >> host: what is bonk mean? >> guest: as saying for sexual intercourse. people start calling, excuse me, i believe you misspell the title of your own book, it is boring, not bond. is both a.
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blanc is more common in the u.k. that is what people say in the u.k. but i grew up in new england, to me boink is a silly word. that is why i chose bonk but it is the people right to me and said aps, i think it is boink and it got past the copy editor and no one noticed the title was misspelled but enough people complain that i have made up for book tours a middle yellow letters i, a bowl oflittle yell letters i, a bowl of people to apply to this it really bothers them the used bonk instead boink.
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thune >> host: what did you research? >> guest: this is a book about people, brave souls who study the physiology of sex meaning not gender stuff or sociology or hiv transmission, but just the buyer mechanics and physiology of arousal, orgasm, intercourse of people say this is a system, a human sins demanded deserves like any other human system to be studied and understood and for centuries nobody did that and it wasn't until masters and johnson got it rolling in earnest, the 40s and 50s nobody wanted to go there so i looked at people who went there, brave souls who went there. >> host: how significant rhythm masters and johnson and kinsey study?
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>> guest: kinsey's contributions had more to do with extensive interviewing, and people do this long, not unlike this three our interview, this extensive interview about sexual habits, what do you do and who do you do it with and how many times and in what position, very specific personal questions about people's sexual out and publish these two volumes and it was controversial, the things he uncovered so that is what he did but he did get interested, in the 40s and 50s and he did at one point bring people into the attic of his house in indiana and the addict sessions were essentially him with the movie camera and notepad observing taking notes, answering certain questions and studying the process, the sexual response cycle as it would come to be called but it was never published in any journal or
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anywhere else. he didn't have an institute, wasn't wearing the white coat, fast forward to masters and johnson, masters and johnson, this was in the 50s, brought volunteers in to be observed and sometimes it was couples, sometimes it was one person, they were just documenting the entire sexual response cycle in men and women like the beginning stages of arousal, orgasm, and really specific to publish this book human sexual response came out in the 50s or maybe it is in the book, but at a time when it was really scandalous, and they had gone out of their way to address it up in traffic's of formal science and they came up with euphemisms with a lot of syllables, the couple having sex in the lab would be the reacting
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unit. of the man lost his erection it would be of failure of directive performance. pornography would be stimulus of literature. everything had a multisyllabic euphemism. even then, the book is absolutely not titillating. there's nothing in it. it is the big book and very thorough. nevertheless even though there's nothing scandalous, they had so much hate mail they had to hire a second secretary to handle all of the hate mail. my hat is off to them. it was a tremendously brave thing to do at the time. very conservative era. nothing like this had never been done and they did it and got people to come into the lab. that was an amazing thing. i would have loved to interview some of their subjects, but they were anonymous. masters and johnson were fiercely protective of their identities. i was going to put an ad in the
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paper saying if you were one of those subject please contact me and several people said if you do that and we have tried you will get people pretending to have been subjects who will want to tell you titillating and absolutely false stories. so i thought how can i get across to people what that would have been like. it is extraordinarily awkward situation to be in a laboratory setting with somebody in a white coat with a note pad who is going to say remove your clothes and proceed to do what you would ordinarily do, don't mind us, present we are not here so the way i got around that is i did find somebody, it is not common these days, there are not very many studies where two people are required to.
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if you are studying arousal or orgasm or whatever it is you can do that with one person if you know what i mean, you don't necessarily have to have two people. i found one study, and in london, it was the four dimensional ultrasound imaging study where they could make a four dimensional film of the body parts in question, i e-mail him and i said i am interested in this next project. this was a legitimate research venture and i said i am interested in this historic undertaking. could i be there in the room and he wrote back right away and he said yes, you could but unfortunately we are having difficulty finding a brave
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couple for intimate study so if your organization would like to provide a volunteer i would be happy to arrange it. so my organization called its husband, and i believe the way that i phrased it was not entirely forthcoming. i said you know how you say you haven't been to london in 25 years and -- let's go and i will take care, everything, we will go to the west end, see some players, jeremy irons has a big beard now and will be a good show, we will go to stonehenge and have sex in front of a guy in a white coat and in that way -- he is a wonderful capacity for denial so he latched onto we are going to london and did not even think about the segment in which we were going to have --
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this is called for a sound. people say you were filmed in an m r i tube, actually wasn't an mri to. in that case you would have privacy at least. your cramped and uncomfortable but have privacy. with ultrasound the guy is right here with the bond. tremendously awkward experience. at the same time i was thinking this will be so fun. so much fun to write. my husband deserves a medal for this because he didn't have any sort of silver lining. for him it was a really awkward thing and the burden of performance is on him. i could go into more detail but i don't think we need to right here. >> host: with your first book, mary roach, "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers," the first line in that book is the human head is the approximate
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size and weight of a roast chicken. how did you discover that? >> one of the places i went to for "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers," this is a book about post-mortem careers, people who have donated their bodies to science research, education, and some of the more unusual places they end. some people are familiar with the anatomy classes in dissection but there are a lot of other things did people have gone up to over the years, quite fascinating. one of them is the engines will use cadavers to practice and learn techniques, refreshed themselves, you don't want to practice on a live person so the dead are useful for practicing and the place that i went was a
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seminar for facial reconstructive surgeons and they were practicing some techniques on heads and people think why don't they have the whole body and with cadaver research, you don't want to waste usable tissue so the head would be in the reconstructive plastic surgery lab, the arm by be in a test of the power window to make sure somebody's hand in it that it will not be causing an injury, the legs might be -- anyway, you could be inside places at once as a research cadaver which is the ultimate smoky tasking. anyway the heads have been set up, this is a long winded answer, they were in roasting pans of a sort that you would use to roast a chicken and because in fact they are about the same size so i made that observation, 30 heads in
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roasting pans in this surgical training seminar i was that in texas. >> host: who donates the body. >> guest: people who donate their bodies tend to be people like myself, practical, they paid door to door service and queue up and no rigmarole, if you want to you can do a service that don't have to. plus you get this sort of wonderful feeling of having helped by making a donation to science, a contribution to science. that would require putting a value on dead body which is an interesting issue because dead bodies were cars, part by part if you add up each individual
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part, shipping and handling technically, but if you take the cost of each individual one and add them up, it is a greater number than it would be for a whole body. to put a figure should the irs audit, the irs will not audit you. and beyond the grave. >> host: is there a shortage of dead bodies? >> guest: yes and no. people depending on where you live, if you live somewhere near stanford, harvard, they love to donate to those schools, i am going to harvard, i always thought people who won the body programs had teachers made up
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that said i am going to harvard medical school. it is funny there could be two medical schools close by, there is due and another smaller college, it doesn't have the same prestige, quietly giving their surplus. there are regional surplus deficits, some place have plenty of bodies and others are always scrambling to get more. >> host: in "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" you write it makes little sense to try to control what happens to your remains when you are no longer around to reap the joys of benefits of that control. people who make the leverett requests concerning disposition are probably, a concept of not existing. >> guest: that is the number one reason in my experience that people -- they are not going to
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donate, and research and education, i want to cure cancer, i don't want to be used in plastic surgery, people want to exert control over the circumstances. and it is a way of still being around, the prospect of no longer being a round. we are not going to be around to care or take issue. it is not a rational thing. people say you wrote this book, people donate your body to science, and paperwork of stanford and ucla medical school, it is in the radius
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where i live in the bay area so i have the paperwork, i am kind of a college senior, deciding where i want to go, what is the view like from the anatomy lab and the facilities, and had this irrational kind of desire and also think it is interesting he hasn't pulled the trigger, i haven't filled out the form. it is my intent. to go off and be cremated, just seems wrong. >> host: remains of the author, will assure won't shea, you right you are concerned about ed
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and his take on your being donated? >> guest: he is very squeamish man and the thought of me being on a table. for him, focused on that, a roomful of strangers, plus you're dead, you look like crack, that is his concern, the thought of being parceled out was disturbing to him, one finger i realize in talking to medical emphasis and various people is the wishes of the living are more important than the wishes of the dead. someone leaves elaborate plans, that is a tremendous impact on
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the living. it is hard enough to cope with the loss of somebody, then find out they wanted to be donated to science and going to be used in some sort of research or experiment and that is an upsetting thing for the family. the people who worked in will body programs will usually take the side of the living because the dead are dead and the living still have emotions and things to deal with. that circumstance does occasionally present itself where the family is very uncomfortable, go to an anatomy lab and medical research very upsetting for them and the university, pull the body away.
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dramatic tug-of-war going gone. >> host: being caught in possession of a corpse's cufflinks with a crime being caught with the corpse itself carries no penalty. what kind of laws are there for body snatching, corpses, etc.. >> guest: body snatching, grave robbing, grave robbing was the practice of stealing somebody's cufflinks, the family heirloom, the jewel. for a few centuries there was no need to add a lot about body snatching because who wants to go to the trouble of digging up the grave to pull up a dead body? no value for centuries, no value in a dead body but then the dawn of the anatomy school in 1700s, 1800s and on, anatomy schools needed dead bodies, needed have
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material for dissection, no one back then filled out of body for man donated their bodies to science so if you wanted to study the human body, you wanted to teach anatomy, you had to pay a body snatcher. resurrection this was another term that was used, they would go into cemeteries, would have been casing the cemetery because you have to have a fresh body, you don't want to practice dissection, decomposed body, a skeleton -- and dig up the body and take it to the anatomy school, the guy who runs it and would be paid for the bodies and they did quite well and i have a number in "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" of the number of part and full-time resurrection this employed in
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london, edinburgh, i don't remember that number but it was a popular way to make a living. even then there was a shortage because of some of the schools back then there was one instance where you could pay part of your tuition in bodies. it is a midnight prank, dig up the grave, bring it in and get tuition credit and a discount on tuition if you provide some material. >> host: you write that the instructors became known as the kind of guys you could take your son's amputated leg and sell it for beer money, thirty-seven.five cents. it happened in rochester new york gittin 31. welcome to booktv's "in-depth". our guest is author mary roach. and she began writing books in 2003 and the first book is "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers". all her books are new york times
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bestsellers. second book came out in 2005, spook:science tackles the afterlife. "bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex" him out in 2008, packing for mars in 2010, curious science of life in the void and a most recent just came out, a month or two ago, "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". 202 if you'd like to participate in live program this afternoon, 585-388 zero, 585-3881 in the mountain and pacific time zones, e-mail us at booktv@c-span.org and you can make a comment on our face book page. for mary roach, facebook.com/booktv or on our twitter feed@booktv is the address there. mary roach, where did you grow up, when did you become a writer and why the topics that you pick? when did you start being interested in this stuff?
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>> guest: i was born in hanover, new hampshire and grew up in that area, the upper valley which includes a little town in vermont on the other side of the river. and a small town, college town, and we were in at the, assistant prof. couldn't afford fancy houses in hanover, a loved at the where i spewhere i spent ju high school. i had this sense of i am going
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to graduate and someone will see this special kind of person with a lot of potential to do something and i had not a clue. in 6 grade i had a desire to be the person when you write a letter to a company like scrubbing bubbles, i really love scrubbing bubbles. do you actually make a wind of scrubbing bubbles which i wrote this letter at one point, the person who wrote the letters that, thought it would be fun, corporate communications, something to do. that is as far as i ever wanted to be, a doctor, a lawyer, an actress, a writer. i never gave it any thought. >> host: what happened? >> guest: i got in a drive away
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cart. do they still have drive away cars cq a shady service. they live on the east coast. and a college student, and volunteered to drive that car. not paid but you get a free car. and this car that was taken out to death valley and the odometer turns back, and old cutlass supreme and the rearview mirror dropping off. they tend to start up and disappear and came up in a drive away cart with two friends because i heard san francisco was a cool place and there was
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this thing where they pushed cards around with chinese food a you would point to what you wanted on the cart and this seemed impossibly exotic and fabulous because there was chinese food in etna or hanover at the time and the ocean was fair and it sounded exotic and off by went to san francisco with no clue what i would do to make a living but back then you got a job as a waitress, market research, catering, tempting, all that stuff you can do, at my rent was $185. i was at the corner of haight and nash very. >> host: what would cost today to live there? >> guest: the rent in san francisco, what was that, just one room, probably -- maybe not
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that high, maybe about $1,000. >> host: deegan work at san francisco zoo? >> i got a job at the san francisco society. and i realized pretty soon i'm not cut off for public relations. and fly in the press, so every now and then because the zoo keepers and the society, zoological society, a certain amount of ill will in between. so anyway the zoo keepers would call the press with things that were not true. i got a call, someone said yes,
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the cheetah was sucked dry by fleas. public affairs, public relations, damage control, deny, spin, anything, really? how much blood, how many families. and i would go off on a tangent and take the side of the reporter completely abandoning my job. and mitigate the damage and the night or stall any thing to keep us out of the press in a bad way. i didn't last very long. it was a very fun job. i worked in a trailer by guerrilla world and sometimes people would knock on the door, a zoo visitors and say is this gorilla world and i would go not
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quite, close. >> host: how did you get from their to "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" in 2003? >> i wrote for magazines, free-lance writer, it was halftime so i was doing some free-lance writing while i worked there which was a nice way to transition to freelance. i did go cold turkey from full time to freelance which even then was a tough thing. so i would write for the san francisco examiner, sunday magazine where i got my start, freelancing for them. got a little bit of copywriting, commercial writing as well, i wrote for the banana republic original banana republic catalogue back when it used to be travel clothes, so far east of supposedly found overseas in these exotic locations like army pants from india, by the time i
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came to the banana republic, was made to look like it was found in exotic places and we would come up with stories for the clothes. >> host: you say you would make those stories of? >> guest: we made those stories up, yes. >> host: david challenge from new york's the e-mails indy you can see your work and findings to the scientific and how would you define science to be differentiated from work which does not conform to this method. >> guest: do i consider my work to be scientific? what i'd do is i report on work that is scientific. i think of scientific as in doing formal research that is published in journals. and scientific material that is published in journals. i think that was sort of --
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>> guest: that was the point with you consider your work to the scientific. >> host: the word scientific suggests you are a scientist who is doing formal research published in scientific journals or science journals. >> host: is there life after death? >> guest: i wrote a book on it. >> host: what is your conclusion from your research? >> guest: this spook, my second book, is -- it wasn't -- i knew from the get go that it was unlikely that mary roach with her b.a. in psychology was going to be the person who after all these millennial would pin down the definitive vantage of the question what happens to us after we die. i became fascinated and this started with a chapter in "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" that had to do
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with people looking at people trying to to physically find the sole in a body. they would take a body, part of early dissection, very early was looking around at all these bits and pieces and going is this the center of the being, is this the sole? a lot of that work was in the head because people early on could tell with a head injury, something happens to someone's essence, they are no longer themselves, they change or they disappear so the head was the place so in that chapter physically looking for the sold i got interested in this notion that you could use scientific, there's that word, you could use the scientific method, you could apply that to something as an ethereal as the spirit or the sole. there are different ways to go about that but bring that question into a laboratory setting i found fascinating self
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i was interested in the techniques and the people, and what they had done to go at that question rather than setting out for the definitive answer. i think when you look at the question what happens when we die religion is a better place to search than science probably because it is very difficult to how do you define the sole? how do you define spirit? what you looking at, trying to bring loved into a laboratory setting. for your subject full you need to find people who are or aren't in love. if you leave that up to them how do you know what that person is experiencing is the same as this person? there is no way to quantify it. no way to be sure they are experiencing the same thing. with the soul or spirit what we're talking about?
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it is a problematic area to bring into the lab but a fascinating one. >> host: you explore 21 grams. >> guest: that notion of 21 grams comes from a physician, duncan mcdougal who in the early part of the 1900s, at a tuberculosis sanitary him, sadly there were a lot of people who were dying so he had a ready subject full to work with and he had this idea that you might be able to prove the soul has substance by putting somebody on a very sensitive scale as they die, and look at the knee land see if it goes down just a tiny little bit. very primitive way to go at it. i just love the fact that he decided to do it and industrial
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silk scale, he outfitted with a cot and he would install patients, you can tell when somebody was going to die. and you cannot tell in the exodus mode. you can tell. and the word got out that this was inappropriate, at one point burst in, and another time having trouble zeroing the scale. he claims the needle went down 21 grams. that is where that comes from. >> host: you wrote a last for me a belief is not something you're born into or simply choose to adopt one day. belief for me calls for
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plausibility. >> guest: that is just me. catholicism was very important to the family. i have a photograph of my great grandmother who built into her doorway, and her own holy water supply. her own supply, and it was a endless source of frustration for her that didn't take with me. my mom would read to me from the bible at night and she would read to me about being a jericho when the walls came down and priests were trumpeting and i felt isn't it possible there was an earthquake at the same time, the horns were trumpeting, how
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do you know? it could have been a coincidence, that kind of annoying kid or jesus walked upon the water. wood is one of those atolls where the surface of the atoll was just a couple inches below the water. maybe he was walking on that. how do we know? did anybody go into the water and look at what was under there? i was that kind of kid. even though i didn't go into science, i didn't major in science, i am just wired that way. >> host: the new most recent book "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" facing history aside let's look at the digestive realities of a whale. what did you discover about jonah and the whale? >> guest: that reading of the bottles a with the not the way my mother would have liked, she didn't engender much faith or commitment to catholicism
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unfortunately. the images stayed with me. my mother's bobblehead these beautiful reproductions of paintings, it was a painting of jonah and the whale and oddly it is a bell been whale and you can see jonah is half way out and wearing a red robe -- soda emblazoned in my brain and one i was working and "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal," and thought it would be interesting to fact check that, is there a whale in which you could live? it wouldn't be at bellying whale, it would be the sperm whale. the sperm whale feeds by section
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like giant squids, and big enough to allow a man which other whales that wouldn't be so the sperm whale is the logical choice. also no acid in the first compartment so that is also handy. unfortunately the sperm whale kind of shoes with its stomach, very powerful muscular contractions going on. say you were a scuba diver and had an air tank you might be able to survive for a while. it would be quite uncomfortable, broken bones or at the very least a lot of discomfort. but you could possibly. so that led to i became curious about the experience of being prayers inside the stomach of an animal that swallows its crayola including human beings and oysters. i love oysters. guide to my oyster's but some
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don't. i spoke to a biologist, marine biologist what that experience would be like for an oyster. any way that is a chapter that has to do with the possible reality of living inside another person's stomach. >> host: i witnessed an autopsy years ago and was astounded at how the body was treated. let's just sit up how ecologist would waive the organ and go for a three pointer in returning the ball organ to the body cavity. then and there i decided i would never allow an autopsy on anyone i love for myself unless it was a coroner's case, there isn't any permission involved. >> host: >> guest: i have never seen an autopsy but from time to time with hear stories about anatomy labs, mostly from the 60s, these
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were people around my age talking about medical school when they were younger. i know that medical schools have gone to extensive links these days to instill a sense of respect and gratitude in medical students and that includes having people from hospice come and talk to the students before they begin the gross anatomy course. also, they typically will do a memorial service at the end of the anatomy class, not all schools but a lot of them now and i went to one of those not knowing quite what to expect thinking this is something all the students would go to because they have to go. in fact students got up on the stage, not all of them but a lot of them, some red journal entries, there was a woman who
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read a tremendously moving passage where she said, this was addressed to the cadaver she worked with, when i have update and abdomen i think of your abdomen, when i listened to a heart i see your heart. really, people were tiered up, i was. it was very emotional. someone composed a song, readings came from students and was obvious a lot of emotion they hadn't process that favor expressing to the group who were gathered there and in many schools families are invited as well. i have been to every anatomy class and i don't know what goes on when there is not a writer is there, people on their best behavior when someone is in the room with them but my sense is
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students today are a lot more respectful. it used to be a whole tradition of taking photographs, dissection photographs, a group of students who were working on the body would pose for a photograph and sometimes have the cadaver sitting up and these photographs were used as christmas cards sometime this. i forget the name of the book but it is a coffee table book of photographs, it was what people did back then. you have to look at these things in the context of the day. humor was encouraged as a coping strategy years and years ago. now that is not the case. i can't -- i haven't spent a lot of time in pathology labs.
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your day today job is doing anatomy, you become a little desensitized. when it is your job to work on dead bodies, they are very much tissue and not people. they look like people but they are not people. that is very difficult for people to read their heads around when they think of even organ donation, because the remains of someone you knew, it looks like that person, looks like a person. it is not. it is a hall. it is muscle and tissue and when your a pathologist and you never knew this person i could imagine your respects doesn't enter into the equations after awhile. >> host: from "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" mary roach writes many students get their cadavers names, not like beef jerky but real names.
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introduced me to ban the cadaver despite having been reduced to head, lungs and arm >> reporter: an air of purpose and dignity. we are talking with author mary roach on booktv on c-span2, 202 if you would like to join our discussion 585-388 zero in the east and central time zone, 585-3881 mountain and pacific, facebook, a twitter and the mail are also available. to contact the author we start with ernestine in oak hill, west virginia. wheeler on with father mary roach. >> caller: i have enjoyed the conversation and like mary roach, planning and donating my body in for the mid students at the west region osteopathic school in louisburg and my family, like you said, is aghast at me doing this, but i have worked in hospitals for over 56
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years and i feel that is worthwhile to donate my body to students. my second comment is i was in college when masters and johnson's work came out and it was a topic of conversation in the dorm, in classes and what have you. those are my two comments and i am enjoying the program. >> guest: thank you very much. that is interesting. i wish i could have talked to some of the people who volunteered for the masters and johnson study. i just think it was such a heroic thing to have done, really brave. not just masters and johnson but the people who volunteered to do that. it is interesting to get the perspective of somebody who was there then. >> host: dan in new jersey, go
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ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: yes. yes. i wanted to point out we are so shy about being seen sexually, the same reason other animals are shy excreting because it is we are vulnerable and we can be attacked by creditors. the second thing i would say is a lot of tissues and bodies are not used by anatomy students but used by salvage tissue and replacement tissue and this raises a common sense question about when you are really dead because there is the bias for you being declared dead because they want the tissue, want to do something with it. so that is what scares a lot of people, that you might have
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revived because you had people revived after 20 minutes of no life signs. the last thing i would point out is as a medical student, i recall in my country they put cadavers in brine and formaldehyde for five years before we used them and there was a 12-year-old girl cadaver and her face was so radiating, so beautiful, it was hard to imagine that she was dead. when you do pathology, throwing around the organs that you see, really because even the undertakers' take out all the organs, the organs are not left in the body and the reason they get thrown around is because it is hard work. >> host: when and where did you go to medical school? >> host: in eastern europe.
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>> caller: was very primitive and anatomy was a two year course back then and we did a lot of anatomy. >> host: thank you for calling in. let's get a response from mary roach. >> guest: your comment about there being people -- obviously a great need for organs and tissue, i don't know of any evidence to suggest the staff or wherever the person is being kept, oxygenated on the respirator, when someone is brain dead or whatever it is that issue of them rushing the death in order to get the tissue, my understanding is it is not true. the fact that they are not -- they are completely separate from people who need the tissue and organs and families of the people of the organ donation
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network. the person is brain-dead and gone they are legally dead, we hope the family makes organs available but in terms of rushing the death i don't know of evidence for that. >> host: and that post on our facebook page facebook.com/booktv mary roach i am almost 70 years old and if i would afford to live hand to books out on street corners. "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" is one of the message containing and informative books i read in the past year. had to stop quoting it at the dinner table. what is next? >> guest: thank you very much. i love the image of you on the street handing out -- i am going to hire you. guerrilla marketing. i am looking into something. this weekend i got some meetings, i don't know where i am going. looking at possible next book. it gets harder for me over the
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years, the obvious topic, that mary roachable topics have been done so it gets a little harder for me to find something. seriously. ideas, people. >> host: you are not going to tell us? >> guest: i will be all coy and secretive. >> host: besides having relations in front of strangers in a lab, what are the first trips you took that ed sat up and when you said i am going to medium school or meet with elvis's doctor? >> guest: the trip that most disturbed and that made him concerned for my safety, it was before i did any of these books. it was i wrote a column for salon.com. helped the human body and
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similar mary roachy topics and one time i was writing about bashful bladder, some people have -- you are at the stadium and there is the trough, simply to find it hard to get going. it is called bashful bladder. i was writing a column, you have so much regard u.s. question so the way you treat-full bladder is similar to away phobias are treated, if you have a spider phobia one thing psychologists do is start you out in a room with the spider and bring it progressively closer and closer. overtime, until you are holding a torrential of war something and there's the term for that like progressive and exposure.
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i don't know what the term is. that is what you do. with bashful bladder you can help somebody by being with what is called a peak betty. .. buddy. show to person drinks a whole lot of water to load up and then you start out in the kitchen water and the boardroom and then you say, i'm in the kitchen, and okay, i'm all right. and then you move down the hall away. i'm in the hallway and the guy in the bathroom is going, okay, that's good. that's great. and you don't no -- i never went into the bathroom, okay? but i was telling ed. i'm going over to walnut creek, somewhere in east bay. i'm going to be a pee buddy for this guy who has bashful bladder and ed was like, do you know who this person is? how is -- what are you doing? and i said, look, i was on one of the bulletin boards online communities and i found somebody who was hoping to do this, and i -- it was very help toll the
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man... i want to compliment you on all the journeys you have been through. it's just remarkable that somebody with your qualifications can go through all of this. and all the different topics. the cadaver and stuff like that and do research. i commend you highly. what rot u.n.? what got you started in this? i mean branching out in all these different topics?
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>> guest: good question. it's possible there is something wrong with me. okay, how did i end up? i'm trying to think where my career bird stop in this direction. i think it was the salon column. salon.com was very early on line magazine and for the first time you could get a sense of how many people had read your article. you would look at the number of hits. does you and your editor could see what got the most hits and when i was writing this column it was some first person but it was a research, they were reported pieces and there were a couple of them that had to do with cadaver research. not anatomy labs and the hit rates on those columns were very high which suggests that it suggested it wasn't just me that thought this was interesting but that people had a fascination. i think again this gets back to what we were talking about
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earlier. in our culture there is such a taboo around death and around dead bodies. nobody explores that are toxins straightforwardly about it and i enjoyed tackling those topics and i found people responded. there is a lot of connection with the topics because everybody dies and everyone have sex then everyone eats but they are things we would rather not think about. i think human beings like to think of themselves as minds and personalities that don't really want to think of themselves as another eating excreting mating animals. we kind of want to turn away from that so i found that whole area to be fascinating to step into and explore. >> host: when people meet you what is the first topic are the where the main topic they want to talk about? >> guest: it easily depends on which book has just come out. i get asked a lot about --
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well with "gulp" people bring their own experience. for example with "spook" i got a lot of stories about people's personal experiences in the paranormal -- paranormal. there are a lot of personal ghost stories which are fascinating. "gulp" people want to tend to talk about their digestive issues. so when i go on a.m. call-in radio i have to made an announcement, mary roach is not a doctor. otherwise they would be like i have an intestinal plaque that has been troubling me or i've had irritable and some of my medication has changed. i am not a doctor. so i get that kind of question. and with "bonk" a lot of
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questions about that particular experience that i shared with your viewers earlier. >> host: gene in stockton california. you are on c-span2 with author mary roach. >> caller: hi can you hear me? this is a question that i have and i don't know if they gave it to you. a man who donated his body to science and they had so many bodies and later what ended up happening is it was cremated and they gave the body back to the family. so the wishes of the person for not taking care of and a lot of people don't know that is something that can happen. so your family now has to decide on a final grave to bury you and the fee and that kind of thing. a lot of times people don't think about that. i just wondered and the only
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personal experience i've had, had someone die in the family and we were very upset because we didn't want an autopsy and they want to do not type safe. that person in and the victim of a crime. so that was -- in our family everyone has a big ceremony and that kind of thing so all of this is really new to me. i just wanted to get your thoughts on someone donating and later finding their wishes were not addressed. >> host: thank you. mary roach? >> guest: that's unusual because normally what happens is if there is a surplus of bodies, the instituteinstitute, the medical school that received them will make them available to other medical schools or even in the case -- when i was in san francisco researching "stiff" i went to
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the san francisco mortuary college and the students were practicing their techniques on a man who had donated himself to medical school but ended up at the mortuary college. in other words they couldn't use a mathematical school. it's rare to boat unquote waste a body because there is a demand. it must have been an area where there wasn't another facility close by that could make use of the body. normally there is an effort to cause it's a precious gift that someone has made. like you said you want to respect the wishes of the family but also there is usually somebody or some institution that could make good use of that body so that's an unusual circumstance. >> host: mary roach what's going on at the university of tennessee? >> guest: the university of tennessee is the home, one of
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several now, the body farm. they are like starbucks now. they are cropping up all over the place. but the original body farm is a facility in knoxville at the university of tennessee and it's safer and six research facility. what they are doing there is they are studying the timeline of decomposition in different environments. for example buried in soil versus buried in sand versus and water versus the trunk of a car versus the backseat of a car and the environmental effects of the timeline of decay. in order to pinpoint the time of death detectives look at what state the body is then and work backwards from there and said say this body has been decomposing for approximately six weeks. so then we can figure out when the person was killed which used to be really hard to do. they would sometimes be off by
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decades, way off. it depends a lot on the environment and how moist things are so that is what they are doing it the body farm, creating different environments and seeing how it slows or is beads or affects the process of decomposition. the reason there are so many of them now is they are cropping up in different ecological, like a dry climate or say a tropical climate so they can learn about the timeline of decomposition in different ecological systems. so there is actually a project going on right now. you can go on her webcam and watch. there is a underwater. they are studying what happens to a body underwater. they have this. you have a webcam that comes on every 15 minutes. i wish i had the link for curious viewers but in fact what
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tends to happen is in this area anyway a lot of crabs show up because crabs like pork and humans as well. so the crab tend to take care of the body. it's kind of like you know there is that kind of sky burial where the body is put out in the vultures come down. in india by think outside of mumbai there is a place where the bodies are put out. i have never been. but sky burial and there is a seed burial that is similar. let the crabs come in and you become part of the ecosystem via the crabs. >> host: rachel posts on her facebook page thank you so much for being an amazing writer. why do you choose to write about the space program in "packing
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for mars" and what was your favorite part about researching the book that she said she is a recent resident of the space coast of florida and your book gave me a great deal respected by my surroundings. >> guest: thank you. that's lovely to hear. i chose that topic which at first hearing sounds like a departure but in fact it's a book about the human body yet again that the human body is extraordinarily surreal circumstances of space travel. zero gravity. any system or machine that was built on earth built to function on earth and earth gravity you put it in zero gravity and it just doesn't work the same way. all kinds of surreal things happen to human beings in orbit in zero gravity and i found that fascinating. years and years ago i wrote up article for discover magazine
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about these buoyancy tank which is this giant tank at nasa johnson space center. this giant tank that is the world's largest swimming pool. it will submerge a big piece of the space station and the astronauts will put on their spacewalking suits and they will rehearse their moves. it's similar to floating in space and the amount of practice that goes into a two hour space walk where you are out there adjusting a solar panel, just the amount -- to everything has been rehearsed and practiced and is tremendously complicated and fascinating. at the same time it's very human. in the earliest space lab the earliest space station before the space station, they had a
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dinner table. it doesn't make any sense now. you can put something down and it floats away. this makes no sense to have chairs and to have ceilings and floors. it makes no sense. you could be wherever and it's all the same. they realized and they took it out. it's ridiculous. but the astronaut's demanded that come back. they said, we are human beings at the end of of the day and when we are done with their jobs and we are done with their work we want to sit around a table together and eat and be human. so we want a table and chairs. so they brought it back and now it's equipped with velcro and straps. you can't just put things down on that but there is a table and there is also the floor and ceiling orientation. they're these elements of being human that although everything is changing you don't really need them, people want them.
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so it's interesting to see what you can take away and how much strangeness the human spirit can endure before protests. >> host: in packing for a mars barbour craft i had asked him if he thought being an astronaut was the best are or the worst job in the world? rove you are sleep deprived and you have to perform perfectly or else you don't fly anymore. as soon as you are done with something ground control is telling you something else to do here that bathroom stinks and you have noise all the time. you can open a window. you can go home, you can be with your family, you can't relax and you are not well paid. can you get a worse job than that? [laughter] >> i love norbert kraft. he worked at nasa ames to do with psychological issues. people read that quote and i have two minds on whether to
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include that. what i didn't want this book to do was to -- people's dreams of becoming an astronaut. i will tell you why and i go on to say this in the book. that is all true. for me it's the same -- i like to go backpacking. my husband and i go out to the sierras. out in the middle of nowhere week kerry on our backs are tents and sleeping bags and they go and we spend a few days up there. we have friends who say why don't you just go on a cruise? why don't you go to europe? the food is horrible, you can't get a good cup of coffee. it's uncomfortable. you are sleeping on the ground. you are bitten by bugs. you get hot and sunburned and you're all sweaty and you can't wash your clothes. it sounds like a horrible vacation to which i say yeah all that stuff is there but look where you are. look at your surroundings and
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there is no one else up. it's as privileged feeling of being in a spot where few people have been and there is no one around. and just the perspective and the experience dwarfs all that minor inconvenience stuff. i think space travel is that times 10,000. it's an comfortable anywhere stressed out in your body feels weird and the food is land and all of that stuff but who cares? you are in space and you are flying across the room like super moon. and you're looking down on this massive beautiful planet that is earth. who cares that the toilet stinks? it's that kind of thing. >> host: you talk about spacewalks and the effect they have on astronauts in "packing for mars." what is the effect? >> guest: spacewalking is a
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term that applies to being outside the spacecraft. it's just you floating in space, attached by anna and the local usually but not always. in the gemini era there was a lot of pandering about will do blow the mind of the astronaut? will it completely freaked him out to be in this infinite space floating, this tiny vulnerable human being and there was this fear that they would psychologically become unhinged. in fact what happened in the first and the second spacewalk or in the soviet union i think -- what happened though he got out there, ed white i believe it was, and he didn't want to come back in. there was this euphoria that is just like wow and he kept
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stalling. it was like a kid being called back to the dinner table in the middle of some make-believe thing he is doing and he doesn't want to come downstairs. he says he yeah in a minute. mission control was getting concerned. he needs to come back in. he is our ready in minutes late and he would be out there. he was taking photographs. hang on, i have another great image. ed, you need to get back in here now. he finally said okay i'm coming back in. this is the saddest moment of my life. he just looked it up and he comes back in and the other guy, they are in there and they are talking about this experience. this is a couple of hard-core military guys, air force guys and one of them is saying wow you look like you were back in your mother's womb. it was the most amazing feeling. sort of almost a new age
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conversation. it was really the sort of transcendent amazing experience. there was an expectation that it would be terror or something worse like their minds would be blown. >> host: in the acknowledgment in "packing for mars" the first time i visited johnson space center assigned at the door the public affairs building set hardhats required. space agencies keep a firm grip on their public image and is less troublesome for employees and contractors to say no to someone like me than to take their chances and see what i write. happily there are people involved on the human side of space exploration who see value in unconventional coverage or just to nice to say no. our next call comes from houston. hi carol. >> caller: how are you today? i have been so fascinated with your comments today and i share your consternation in some of
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the stories from the bible that i studied when i was young to back and try to find some sort of reasonable explanation for some of those things. it seemed almost like a quest. one of the things that i thought of when i was thinking of this while you were speaking of that, what do you think about the search in looking for the god particle? >> guest: you mean the part of the brain? >> host: the supercollider thing. i didn't use a technical term there, thingy. >> guest: well, i have no background in particle physics. i dated a particle physicist for a while. he was a very beautiful man and i would sit down across the table from him and go explained matter and antimatter to me. i would try to hang in there as
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long as i could and i would quickly become lost. i can't really make an intelligent comment on the search for the god particle but i think it's fantastic that it is underway and there might be a better understanding. my understanding is that that is the bulk of what is out there, right? the stuff? anyway i am all for it. >> host: on her facebook page facebook.com/booktv theresa glaser writes in mary my 10-year-old son zach is as big a fan of yours as we are. he loved "packing for mars" and we are currently reading "gulp." are you books written for 10-year-olds? >> guest: they are written for 10-year-olds and 90-year-olds and everyone in between. thank you, is that. >> host: we will continue that and theresa writes when you said you wanted ideas for a new topic, zach thought that guns, how they shape what we do and the problems around the world in
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regulating them would be a good next book. any thoughts on that? >> guest: i agree. zach, that is a great idea. to try to think of my brand of humor applied to the topic of guns is a little challenging but it's a really interesting topic. i have thought about that. >> host: michael dunlap posts on her facebook page, i was surprised when he concluded at the end of "spook" that you believed in ghosts. >> guest: i get asked that a lot. the point that i was making is that the end of "spook," i was trying to make it different, point out the difference between knowledge and belief. for me to know can't to know
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that there are ghosts is one thing and to believe in something else and believe is a decision you make and sometimes it's based on how you were brought up and sometimes it's more want to believe that. in the case of ghosts, i just thought it's more fun. i know of no proof of their existence but it's like i'm going to believe because it's more fun to believe them not to believe. i was playing around with the difference between belief and knowledge and i don't think he came through very well. if i had to read the book again i would change the ending somewhat because it sounds like the last page flip-flopped and suddenly wow she spent the entire book making the case that there isn't a lot of persuasive evidence for this and then what the heck all of a sudden she says i believe in ghosts. anyway, came out of that discussion in the end about knowledge versus belief. >> host: bob is your in washington d.c..
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please go ahead with your comment or question for mary roach. >> caller: thank you, mary. i have enjoyed your talk immensely. here's the thing. i am seven years old and i'm running out of options, you know, death. i will never give my latte for an autopsy or a cadaver but i have been giving some thought to this. i have read it piece by piece sometimes where people pay a service to it in effect frees the body and the head and i gather people who do this believe there is some possibility that maybe 50, 40, 30 years and now they will find a way to effectively revive your body. i have always thought they would revive younger bodies before they would revive an older body like me. my thought is your comment about the 21 centimeters looking for
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the soul. who i am and what i am is stored in my brain. the question i have for you is do you have any knowledge about the feasibility of this? i tend to think of the possibility in the next 30, 40 or 50 years and in fact through the use of your brain. how much does it cost? [laughter] >> host: thank you, bob. >> guest: yes, that is called cryopreservation i believe and you can freeze either the head or the whole enchilada. the idea being that you can spot the head and reattach it to another body i guess. like you said the brain would be the repository of the self. the challenge with cryopreservation if i'm remembering the term exactly right is that it's essentially freezer burn.
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a single cell or a layer of cells or for example is a good example. you can freeze and thaw but when you have an entire brain a three-dimensional structure with millions of layers then it becomes trickier. nothing beyond the single cell as far as i know has been successfully reanimated as it were. but like you said 40 or 50 years down the line who can say? there is a fair amount of skepticism that surrounds it. i think right now it isn't possible but like you said who knows what will be possible? the notion of reattaching a head to a body, i looked into in "stiff" there was a researcher robert wright and he
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successfully took a monkey from the head of the rhesus monkey and took the head and you can reattach the lead supply and oxygenate the brain. it would be possible to do a whole body transplant. you have a really brilliant person and you don't want their knowledge to disappear. you in essence give them a whole new body. the spinal nerves would not be reattached to the person couldn't move but you would have a head on a pillow being oxygenated by a blood supply in the body. at the time the animals with only a lived only a short while partly because of their rejection, the immune system rejecting the tissues. but we have made such progress for stem cell research, think that is something we are actually being able to do a whole body transplant. sounds sci-fi but we can reattach the spinal cord.
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so something like cryopreservation is in that category. it sounds sci-fi and bizarre but who knows where things will be in 500 years? >> host: from "stiff" mary roche writes we are piloting. we are reminded of this in the beginning and the end. at birth and at death. can an atlanta. >> caller: i have enjoyed every bit of it. i would like to share a couple of things based on ideas and experiences that you have brought back to life. i'm in my 70's and i was born about 20 years before -- god i am of course catholic. the idea of donating a body which my wife and i have both done but we grew up with the
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prayers, the resurrection of the body. many ideas are out there so the work that you are doing and the others that are opening up people's minds to the idea of you know we are really a throwaway society and the idea of good used to be done by the body is a marvelous idea. one last thing i would like to say is you have made a couple of comments that took me back to a meeting i had with a buddhist monk when i was in vietnam in the 60s. and you made a comment that has stayed with me. the comment is you will never understand what you believe and you will never believe what you understand. these are two different processes which we call mingle all the time.
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>> host: ken before we get a response from mary roach can i ask, is it considered anti-catholic to donate your body to science? >> guest: >> caller: it used to be but it isn't now. it was in the 80s i think when my wife and i went to my aunt's funeral and the body was not there. each bishop in each diocese has to give approval and i don't know of any in the united states where this approval has been denied. it takes a long time for traditions to fall away and all we have to do is go back and think about the galileo trial. it just takes a long time for us to progress. >> host: finally ken are you still a practicing catholic? >> caller: very much so and even to the point that i'm
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hoping to help pope francis get the vatican bank reconcile. >> host: thank you, sir. mary roach your response? >> guest: vatican ii was an extraordinary time. i believe that is one cremation began to be allowed because it used to be there was a requirement that the body be interred, be buried. vatican ii, because cremation is an interesting story. it took a long time for that to be acceptable. initially it was thought, this barbaric thing, you burn a body, how barbaric and horrible. so that was that she said a slow process of acceptance and the catholic church now accepts cremation. i don't know if this is part of the exchange but i think it was vatican ii and i'm not an expert on vatican ii but the requirement was that the
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cremains -- is all right as long as you buried the cremains. it was sort of a compromise scenario. but it's interesting when i was writing "stiff" i came upon a method of dealing with remains called water reduction, tissue digestion. it's kind of like putting the body in a pressure cooker with lie in it. it liquefies and you get a very tidy package. anyway, it's used with livestock and with prion disease because it's one of the ways that destroys the -- apparently. anyway there is some forward-looking morticians who thought tissue digestion would be something they could offer to their clients. i called up someone, the u.s.
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conference of catholic bishops, the mouthpiece of the catholic church and i said that he feel about this process? and also about composting because there is also composting bodies. people like the idea of being taken up into plant material. he said i don't know. just the idea. i think of compost is garbage and i think of stuff going down the drain as sewage so i have some difficulties with that but he said i can't speak for the church. i personally think it sounds a little odd but something the church would have to look into. the church is always evolving with these issues of body disposition. and the cremation, vatican ii is a great example. so yeah but thank you. >> host: we are halfway through our "in depth" with author mary roach and plenty of
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time before before your phonecalls this the comments space for comments tweet sent e-mails as we continue. our producer is tania davis and tonya sent out a little questionnaire to the authors to find out what they are reading and what are their ambulances and some of their favorite books. she did that with mary roach as well and here is the response. ♪ ♪
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post go back live with author mary roach. mary roach some of your greatest influences you write my
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snowmobile fun-loving slim jim and vienna sausage eating chicken slaughtering childhood neighbors the bulges. >> guest: yes. >> host: who were the bulges? >> guest: they were my chicken slaughtering slim jim mating snowmobile riding neighbors. you know what? i grew up in a little college town that was very much -- the town was the college in the college was the town. my folks couldn't afford to live in downtown so we lived out of ways. i had this up ringing that was very kind of skewed seed. i spent most of my time riding snowmobiles and shooting bb guns and watching chickens being slaughtering and being spam and then go to my dartmouth professor home. and i was, i think that was, i
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ended up being very comfortable in different worlds and different communities and not only comfortable but i sort of saw that now. what i do and what i'm privileged to do is to step into other worlds for a span of time. this work that i do enables me to step into worlds i would never otherwise do. nasa is a whole other world of space and then i would have never been able to spend time there without doing what i do. i can maybe trace it back to that, the joy of stepping back and forth between two very different worlds. >> host: another one of your greatest influences my eccentric dad who is 65 when i was born. >> guest: yeah. you don't want to rush into anything. [laughter] my dad came from england. my dad was born in 1894.
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he would be 119 now. he came over from england on the lusitania no less. my dad was a great story. he was a great storyteller and he talked about coming over on the lusitania. my brother thought, okay that's just one of those stories. he did not. i wrote to one of the national archives which i drove by on my way in and lo and behold they said it was a xerox pasted together. it was great big, the xerox of the log out of the at the lusitania and there was his name and there was who he was going to see, how old he was, color of his hair. he had $25 in his pocket. there was a think 1915 i think it was. so, there you go. >> host: how long did it take when you wrote the national archives to get that information? >> guest: well it wasn't that
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long. i don't remember, a few weeks. >> host: in one of your books, i think it's "spook" you do say as an aside that your dad drank. >> guest: my dad did drink a lot. well, i never thought of them is an alcoholic when i was a kid because he was never staggering around and being bellicose and abusive or anything. he quietly at 5:00 he would get out the scotch or whatever trinket was. he went for a martini phase and then it was an old-fashioned phase with bidders bidders and the sugar and then i got lazy and just use scots. over the years i remembered the number of jiggers, is a jig or a shot? anyway it sounds like a word you're not supposed to say. the number would, by the time i graduated from high school he had jiggers of scotch. my brother told me that one is
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his physician said he really need you really need to cut down on the booze. i never saw it affect his behavior or thought of it as an issue. i guess if your definition is that you need to have i will call every day -- though i suppose that's the definition. i don't know the definition. hosted doug fraser tweets and what did your parents do for a living? you mention he was a professor. what did he teach? >> guest: he taught speech and he was the manager or assistant manager of the dartmouth player so he was in charge of the set design and so he loves the theater. before you met my mother and settled down he was in summer stock theater and something called chautauqua which was traveling lectures and talks and events of the good chautauqua and he did summer stock.
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it's amazing, you can go on line on these newspaper databases and i put in his name. all the plays in the descriptions of the play is coming up. i could figure out from portland maine to denver to all over the united states. he loved to travel. he had a real spirit of adventure and i guess that is why i think of him as an influence. >> host: you mentioned in your favorite books and influences bill bryson. why? >> guest: bill bryson, the ability to seamlessly blend really fascinating information with humor. no one does it better. on my best days reaching as far as i can i can maybe graze the hem of his chinos or whatever he is wearing. he was just a tremendous writer.
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never a stale turn of phrase. just the choice of a single word and i wish i could come up with an example. bill bryson was describing, you know he grew up here and also lived in the u.k. and he described summer in the u.k. and of course it's covered by this gray cloud almost the entire summer this gray color overhead but instead of saying, it's gray overhead the entire time he said it was like living inside tupperware. anyway he just has this marvelous ability to blend research and fact with fun and humor. let's go you're watching booktv on c-span2 on our guests this month on "in depth" is author mary roach the author of five nonfiction books beginning with "stiff" the curious lives of human cadavers which came out in 2003, "spook" came out in 2005 science tackles the afterlife, "bonk" the
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curious coupling of science and sex in 2008 "packing for mars" the curious science of life in the void in 2010 and busier "gulp" adventure on the alimentary canal. (202)585-3880 in the eastern central timezone 585381 and those who knew -- of u.n. mountain pacific facebook twitter e-mail also available as well. this facebook comment comes from mora. mary i'm a recent medical school grad and i read "stiff" before and after school and i can't tell how it changed my understanding of the human body. i am sure it has been done before but never with your humor. >> guest: i have thought about that. i actually have been thank you very much. that is something that i feel
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without a medical or neuroscience background i would feel a little bit lost and unsure of my footing. so i have stayed away but it's interesting, i wanted to recommend another who has written on both topics. christine montrose who is both a physician and a poet. her first book was called body of work and that was about her experiences in gross anatomy and her reflections on that in the next book which i think is just coming out falling into the fire. she was a resident in an inpatient psychiatric unit and it's about mental illness. again a very reflective and wonderful. so yeah it's kind of a natural topic in a sense but again i see their of knowledge of the working of the brain. it's one of those situations
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where my of a medical background would really kind of challenge me. >> host: christine montrose by the way has appeared on her q&a program, c-span's q&a program. you can go to c-span.org and type your name in it she will be right there at the video library and you can watch that on line if you're interested. marci wells on facebook said to you, a new book for you, push, ripping through the ages and across cultures. >> guest: that's a fantastic idea however i have blurbs to possibly three. there is a book called get me out of here, which we have the same publisher. i know these books. i'd blurbs them i guess you would say and they were wonderful. and i'm forgetting the title but it's a perfect topic for me. i absolutely agree that it's been done so well that these two
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or three authors who i wish i had their names right here. >> host: just going back to facebook for another comment. this is from alex telander. in searching your books you i seem to throw yourself altman with whatever the subject may be. has there have been any point where you felt you had gone too far? >> guest: there has been a point where my editor felt that i went too far and this was in "bonk" and i probably won't go into it here because i don't want to get c-span into trouble. but anyway, yes, the answer is yes. there was a small scene and it was over in cairo. it was in the offices of -- and i'm going to just say it.
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>> host: you can be general about it. >> guest: it's not really a big deal. this wonderful professor at this tremendous sense of curiosity and he was fascinatefascinated by reflexes and sometimes they were the reflexes of sex, things and what happened during. i said what are these reflexes he? he said you can come here and i will demonstrate them for you. i went there and they were supposedly going to be someone demonstrating a reflex. it was a woman and a woman had wisely not shown up to work that day. here i was and i traveled all the way to cairo to do this. part of the reason i went to visit was because he published the story on the effects of polyester on fertility. the way that he did this, he made little polyester pants for
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rats. in this study, the worn by the rat. peter is having a heart attack over year. i thought this is a man who dresses rats and polyester pants for the purposes of the study and by the way polyester does lower your count. for the record polyester underwear not advised. when i got there the professor, i look at him and he's wearing this beautiful bright blue suit but it's polyester. i'm like polyester? what are you doing? he said yes but underwear, never. [laughter] anyway i had to go and visit this man. he was going to demonstrate some of the reflexes of sexual and the woman took off and he said
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well, i have someone else here, a man i can demonstrate some reflexes. one of them have to do with a muscle that raises and lowers the to adjust the temperature which ties and what we were talking about with fertility. there was one other reflex and the reflex, medical termini thing we can say the reflex is the anal wink and it's easy to elicit the anal wing. you scratch on the side and it links. it links. my editor felt that had gone a little too far with the wink. i also went on. i believe i said that, because we are observing and he does have one of those metal pointer so he is poking people with his pointer in this poor guy is winking. i have this memory from when i was a kid. i remember on easter for sugar
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egg with a little opening that you would look through and see the scene of bunny rabbits and chicks inside the sugar egg. looking through a little hole at the egg. my editor crossed out the whole thing and wrote, no. so the anal wink was gone. no anal wink. >> host: the next call for for mary roach comes from mod in toledo. hi mod. >> caller: hello. there is a book i put out called the incorrect bills -- incorruptible. after they die it is said that their bodies do not decompose. i was just wondering have you ever heard of such a thing? how well-documented is that and i've also heard -- [inaudible] is this true or is this myth? >> guest: i'm going to answer the first part in sq to repeat
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the second. the incorruptible's, they don't ever decompose? there is a vast array of relics of saints which our fingers and toes in bits and pieces but i don't know of whole nondecomposed bodies that are on display. lenin was very carefully embalmed. that is beyond my area of expertise but i'm fascinated by the topic of relics. i have a cousin who once told me that there is such a thing as forensic relic college he. these people who figure out say for a given st. there are 12 fingers and if there to extra food these fingers belonged to and he went into these long stories. my cousin made this up. he was pulling my leg. of course i wanted to either b. or report upon forensic relic
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college this. the intersection of science and religion, i don't dare to write that book because i don't want to mess with it. my take on religion, i don't want to stir that pot. but it's a fascinating topic and i touch on it a little bit in "spook." the indestructible bone and in the jewish religion and the jewish faith there something called the loose. it's a little bone in the big toe, all these tiny bones that are dominated and they try to destroy them and blowing the whole they were easy to destroy so they cross that off the list. anyway, so the notion of there being incorruptible remains is not unique to the catholic church. what was the second part of the question? >> host: mod asked about when they are opened up there is a pleasant sense.
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>> guest: in the incorruptible's? the embalming fluid may be. i don't know. >> host: what does it smell like? >> guest: actually it's not pleasant. it smells like formaldehyde and very heavy. in anatomy labs sometimes when they're done with the lower half of the body they will take it away so the formaldehyde exposure is lower. it's a very strong and unpleasant odor so yeah it would be embalming fluid. >> host: maria's and write what california. you aren't booktv marie. please go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i have enjoyed the discussion so much. i have kind of a question about is there a genre of anatomy and physiological subjects. i'm thinking of two books that i recall. one is a children's book called everybody and the other one is a book by a physician and i'm sorry i don't know his name
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either. it's called how we die. guess kosher when they lend. >> caller: i was wondering if you ever talk to other authors who do the kind of writing that you do because it make so so accessible for people. >> guest: yeah. there should be a conference of taboo writers. i don't know who wrote everybody poops but it's a very popular book. we should get together and hang out because i have not met any of these folks. i don't know that there is a name for the genre either. but yeah it's a small but fun group. >> host: sure wendelin has been on this show pd there is a search function in the upper right-hand corner. type in his name and you'll be you will be able to watch that "in depth" interview we did. this is an e-mail from allen. your favorites included ann fata
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men and the amazing adventures of healthier and clay. how has either the specifically influence your writing or life? >> guest: the amazing adventures of cavalier and clay have an influence me in way other than to make me have hang my head in shame that i can call myself a writer. michael chevon what he does, if that is writing i'm doing something else. he is a god. it's just amazing, what he does with language and stories. not a specific influence. i suppose any time you read someone who is that extraordinary it's a kick in the rear end, and inspiration, a push to do better and try harder. anytime i'm reading someone like that. ann adam falls into that category as well, beautifully thought out crafted essay that
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is -- the thinking in the writing in their reporting, all of those elements beautifully executed. again it's just sort of a push, a reminder to keep trying harder as a writer. >> host: mary roach what are you reading this summer? >> guest: right now i'm reading a collection of short stories called an irish girl, tim johnston, dark which is just really amazing and also a collection of essays mostly about travel by jeff geyer who is i believe the british writer. on the plane here i was reading jeff dire's called the yoga for people who can't -- to do it which is the name of one of the stories in the collection. i'm about to start falling into the fire. christine montreux' new book which is fascinating. a novel called snapper, brian
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cameron ling. that is next up so that is sort of what is on my list right now. >> host: bought from bob from gloucester massachusetts e-mails and, my favorite book of yours is my planet. her book of personal essays. how did the reader's digest column come about and what you write more of these columns? >> guest: thank you. that column came about. years and years ago i wrote for magazine which morphed into various other titles including in health and health. it was the wonderful magazine to write for. it was my first feature writing experience. the publisher of that magazine was a gentleman who then went on to become i think ceo at reader's digest. he contacted me about writing because i had done a humor column for hippocrates called stitches. he had been my editor and we had
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a wonderful time doing it together. he recruited me to do a column, a humor column for reader's digest. sadly my mother was not alive to see that column happened because the thing that would have excited her the most in my career would have been for me to have a regular feature in reader's digest. it's different from the books in that it is life with ed basically. its it's day-to-day life and it's not recorded. there is no science in it that it was very fun to write and very fun to write. at a certain point the magazine readership changed and they didn't want to have a column anymore, so i don't know. it would be fun to do another column at some point. >> host: what does ed do? >> guest: at ed is a graphic artist and illustrator and for many years worked for the
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sampras cisco chronicle. >> host: are both of you working from home basically? >> guest: yeah. they have buyouts at a certain point and newspapers are shrinking. i don't work from home. i have an office with about 10 other writers and some radio npr producers, fiction, nonfiction, kind of a wonderful mix of folks and we all have a door and a window but we occupy and have taken over the corner of an old building. .. hing to do with being around ed, but just being that isolated, just to have somebody to go to lunch with, to kind of get you out of your held is good for me. i work -- your head is good for me. i worked alone. when i was living alone for about a year and a half, working
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alone, i find it's like solitary confinement. i'd be there all day, and day would go into night, and if i didn't have plans that night, i'd go to bed and wake up, and i'm still here at my desk. i haven't left. it was like house arrest. so it's better for me to be socialized. occasionally. >> host: another e-mail. this is from megs glidewell of sarasota. could you say roughly the relative usefulness of these sources while writing your books: google, google looking at edu and scholar site and then books. >> guest: google scholar is very useful for me. that would be the number one. google scholar -- google as a gateway to things like pub med which is a, a lot of pub med is on g so i use google to get to databases like nasa technical reports, there are a number of databases. i am not using just going in and trading in a keyword because it
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is not a useful -- that is not a useful way to get trustworthy information. sometimes i will look something up like the little silver balls on cupcakes, i wanted to know something so i tied those in and they have a name, and in fact they are illegal in california. somebody sued saying the coating is silver, it is real silver and shouldn't be in the food and if you live in california you can't get a little balls for your cupcakes, can't even order some online so i go up on these tangents and google takes me off on those tensions which then become footnotes which are the best part of my books anyway. >> host: what about wikipedia? >> guest: it is good when you're starting out and be a broad overview. in the realm of science some of the things that are anatomical
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entities, if you just want a good overview, i find they are very helpful. you definitely want, when used for a out into the fringes you want to fact check that before you put it -- what is interesting is this was fascinating to me, my wikipedia page, wikipedia page for me, and -- wikipedia requires a link. you have to have an internet link. i would have to funds and into view. our ally and she's force that but coming from the you can't just say it. i can, i am mary, i can do that. what used to be on the
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>> page, there was a lot of information that wasn't right that ended up because it was sourced from the internet. google scholar is very useful for me. what was the third when? >> host: books. >> a surprising amount of information in books. books are not fat checked, magazines like the new yorker or discover or wired or outside employ fact checkers whose job is to go through and meticulously checked everything and publishers don't do that. some authors high rate fact checker but it is very time consuming. to fact checkable book is months of work. i try to do it myself and i have somebody in the field read it for accuracy.
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books, i have gotten into trouble, in particular, the book is a secondary source. you should use it as a source of a couple times i did and it turned out not to have been a good source. >> host: next call for "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" -- mary roach comes from joy in washington. >> caller: so happy to be talking to mary roach. >> caller: first book i read was "bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex," i went out and bought 10. i don't use electronics but i have three ideas for you because i would read anything you wrote, i love your writing. dna. have you thought of doing anything with dna? >> guest: that is a good one. i would feel like it would be -- i would want a background in
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genetics, it would take some getting up to speech, it is a really interesting topic and there's not a ton of some real work that goes on in that area at. >> host: one of the other two? >> guest: i wanted to ask about the history of hiv. i wanted to comment i find it fascinating most of the conversation has been about stiffs and not about "bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex" because people are more willing to talk about death. that is interesting to me. the history of hiv, there's a book in there somewhere. >> host: any others? >> caller: it has escaped me but i wanted to tell mary roach absolutely love her writing and as far as i'm concerned she is as good as bill bryson. >> guest: thank you. >> host: dna and hiv. >> guest: didn't someone to the emperor of all maladies, wasn't
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there an hiv? someone did one. if you don't know, you don't know, probably -- that is a great idea. >> host: you touch on hiv aids in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". with regard to saliva, more than just disinfecting is going on. road quince contain nerve growth factor and skin growth factor, human saliva contains status which speeds wind closure independent of antibacterial action. dutch researchers watched it happen in the lab. a cultured skin cells, scratch them with a tiny sterile tick, soaked them in the saliva of six different people and clocked how quickly the wounds healed as compared to controls. other components of saliva rendered viruses including hiv, the virus that causes aids, non infective in most cases. colds and flu class aren't
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spread by drinking from a sick person's bless. they are spread by touching it, one person's finger leaves virus particles on the glass. the next person picks them up and transfers them to the respiratory tract. >> guest: and i should say there was a study where someone actually quantify how frequently people pick their nose. they did this. it was a medical grand around where everyone was facing the podium and there was somebody on the stage surreptitiously noting down when they observed a nose pick. the rate is in fair. you have to love science. what was the name of that paper? basically how often do people pick their noses? they compared safety the same way, where it can be observed
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the peccary was a lower. >> host: you have it in the footnotes and we will get there, but the healing affect. >> host: the subtitle of the chapter. >> guest: i have to borrow it for something because saliva, these bit chapter. and people are more upset than saliva than to based on a random sample of people written to me. did you want this? this reviled substance but it is miraculous in what it does. i could go on and on. the other things saliva is doing, it is a curse to spit on someone unless you agree, then it is a blessing.
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this substance that people -- it is upsetting and anyway. >> host: in 1973, footnote in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal," researchers from duke the -- school of medicine investigated the frequency of exposure of nasal mucosa to contact with a finger under natural conditions, plainly said how frequently people pick their nose under the guise of jotting notes, observers sat in front of a hospital amphitheater during grand rounds over the course of 7:30 to 15 minute observation periods, 124 physicians and medical students pick to their collective knowss 29 times. adult sunday school students were observed to pick at a slightly lower rate because religious people have better manners than medical personnel the researchers speculated because their chairs were arranged in a circle. that is part of the footnote from mary roach's "gulp: adventures on the alimentary
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canal". steve is in smithburg, md.. >> caller: you are as good as any of the authors you spoke to, bill bryson and others and i enjoy reading your book and i'm "gokulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". my question involves elvis presley, a prelude to that. last two years i am going through a lot of double implant surgery as well as cancer treatment and i have been subjected to a lot of pain medication. that may have had some mixed -- some affect on elvis's problems. when elvis died the post-mortem revealed he had something in the nature of 50 pounds of fecal matter inside of him. they know anything in regard with that, and what is normal people with intestines to die? >> host: just curious, why are
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you curious about that? >> guest: >> caller: having been on a number of pain killing medications i suffer from what i call occasional irregularities. >> guest: got your right up. >> host: let's hear from mary roach. >> guest: that is true what you heard about the tremendous volume of weight of the material that was in -- it had been there a long time. it was hard. doctors looked across the room, there's a stone fireplace, just like that rock, in era long time and a large volume. as to the normal volume. i don't have a figure for you but let's say the amount elvis had was more than pretty average person would have had and way harder and you made a good point
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and at the moment of death he was having arhythmia brought on by pushing too hard. he is on a lot of prescription drugs particularly pain killers. slow the dust motes to leeway down. my husband was in a bike accident and he was on painkillers for a while. he said i would rather have the pain than the constipation. he is watching right now going oh thank you. >> host: paul in utah, good afternoon. >> caller: you have the new fan. i will get one of your books and read it. you are fascinating. my question is about science fiction and wondering if you have some favorite authors like frank herbert or anything like that and secondly, are you a fan of futurema. >> guest: i know what it is because it comes right after the
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colbert report. but i haven't watched it. i should because when i left it on for a while, it looks pretty tricky and fascinating. i need to watch it. my favorite, ray bradbury, i've loved ray bradbury. there was this particularly haunting short-story i am hoping it is ray bradbury and i don't have the wrong person, there's one called the veld, but the one that was amazing was the one where the alien, was a beautiful woman and she had her hair through the whole story breakdown over half of her face and as it turned out that is because when she pulled back her hair this horrible thing came out and pull this guy's skeleton out of his body and he -- his wife came home 80 this like a jellyfish on the floor but it
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was written just beautifully. ray bradbury. >> host: mary roach does include that story in her first book stiff -- "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" in the last chapter. whether she will be donating her body or her skeleton. >> guest: i mention ray bradbury? it stayed with me. >> host: felicia likes your book. near the end you told us about a scientist in norway or sweden who developed the chamber where a body would be put in a chamber, frozen and then acts floated. do you know if there has been any advancement in her work, i would like to see a book written by you and ufo phenomena. wikipedia in abbott like to not engage with that community.
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to find youri would like to not engage with that community. to find your footing in, quote, legitimate research. i talked about it davidian packing for mars, i get into the roswell incident then some other -- mannequins had three fingers only and some would see them briefly before they were taken away in a truck and they were like we're aliens. they were going to either shake them or vibrate them or use ultrasound to break up frozen
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remains that would be composted. it was a cumin composting, mechanically complex human composting process, it is in sweden and still working on that and has people interested in a bunch of different countries. i am not sure why is taking so long. the complications of the equipment. it is that very complicated process. is she still working on it? i have confidence that one day they will be doing human composting. >> host: there is an e-mail in here from somebody. i hopefully will find it asking, what about, what about follow-ups with some of your books?
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10 years old. >> guest: 10,000 years old. i think it would be fascinating to do a where are they now but the way to do that maybe you could do for an e-book just like they have when you rent a dvd they have got the film maker doing that narration like here is what is going on behind the scenes, interesting to have an after the fact narration of what is going on, what is this researcher up to, what is going on now, might be a way to do it. to release a whole book my publisher would be not really interested in that. it robby be interesting extra on the disk. >> host: george from chicago e-mails something you write about in packing for mars, sex
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in outer space, has it happened yet, if not, when it does happen will you please write about it? mary roachable topic. >> guest: there's a whole chapter in packing firm was called the 3 dolphin club which has to do with zero gravity intercourse. i don't want to -- go by the book. i am not going to give this one away. >> host: has it happened? >> guest: not that anybody is willing to own up to. there was a married couple that flew. normally married couples do not -- nasa does not fly very couples partially because of something happened there goes the whole family. that part of the reason and the other reason is you are supposed to be loyal to the mission and not your spouse so that would loyties to the missiont be torn
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and loyalties to your spouse. there was a couple that flew on the space shuttle and my understanding is they got married right before the mission so you are talking newlyweds on the shuttle. you would think they would. on the other hand someone explain this to me at nasa. the astronauts are career driven people. if they did this word would get out, there goes your career, the thing you dream of you spent your whole life working up to and i told this to my agent and he listened to me and those it might be worth it. i tried to find -- i didn't really care if somebody had done it in space. i just wondered had anybody done in 0 gravity. there are all the commercials 0 gravity flights, i called them and the guy said nasa is a contractor of hours.
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if that got out, we would lose a lot of money so he said no. but of course he is going to say no. i am guessing may be one of the staff at the zero gravity corps did that after-hours, there are flights, one of the early flights when they were working out the kinks it seems to me but nobody is running up to would. >> host: your research on that topic included locating porn star. >> host: sylvia, there was supposedly a trilogy called the uranus' experiment and i heard there was a scene shot in zero gravity not in space but on a zero gravity simular, the plane does the parabolic flights, 20 seconds of zero gravity so conceivably you could and i called, tracked down the
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producer of the uranus' experiments who lives in spain and we had a conversation about this and he said oh yes, we definitely did. and i will send you a link end you can check it out and you went on about this and said i have time share on a corporate jet and we got the pilot to do that flight. you got a pilot to do what zero gravity flight? oh yes, had to check the plane thoroughly afterward to make sure they were ok and a lot of detail and i downloaded vote uranus' experiment and fast forwarded. i'm the only person who fast-forward to get to -- i got to the scene in zero gravity and right away if you know anything about zero gravity you can tell that this is fake because her ponytail is hanging down, her ponytail is -- it would normally
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be floating like this and is hanging down and other parts of her anatomy are not buoyed by zero gravity. there should be no hanging down in zero gravity. and there was in the uranus' experiments. their legs were hidden and a standing behind a sofa going up and down, trying to look like they were -- one shot, the money shot they flipped sideways so it looked good. they got from floating away. it was fake. >> host: robin in willis, california on booktv. you got to turn down the volume on your tv and just listen to your phone. we are going to put you on hold and we will come back to you but you have to tune down the tv and listen to the phone. harold in dallas. >> caller: hi, peter, hy, mary.
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i haven't heard or read in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" you say plagiarism had been debunked. is that correct? >> guest: yes. >> caller: is there anything in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" about the craze that never seems to go away? >> guest: quite a bit. >> host: what is fletcherising. >> guest: morris fletcher was a man, an efficiency expert who believed in getting the most possible value for whatever it is, piece of paper or the food you eat so he believed if you shoot, we're talking very thorough, we are not talking 32s per mouthful of to 700 in the case of a garden shallots, 700
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so very time consuming, very thorough chewing would enable you not only to extract more benefit but to eat less and therefore save money and he had a plan to energize the economy by having people chew their food more thoroughly and the west and he got involved in a relief commission in world war i, trying to instead of sending food, get them to shoe more thoroughly and they can get by with half the amount of food by issuing more thoroughly and one way, this was debunked before fletcher who was debunked in the 1800s, who met somebody with hole opening into the stomach and you could put food in and pulled out by intervals and see what was going on he tied some cabbage to the spring, tie chunks of food and full it back
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out and there would be nothing and this was food that hadn't even been shoot at all so the stomach does a thorough job reducing solid chunks to liquid, you don't have to do that in the mouth. the mouth does some preliminary digesting, there are enzymes that break down starches, sugars and the stuff going on in the mouth that the body takes care of, the stomach breaks things down, somebody has done a specific debunking of fletcherisam. there are people who believe in juicing because there are more nutrients available. the blender would be taking the role of the mouth. if you want to thoroughly chewed their would be no harm except dinner conversation would be more of a problem, eating dinner with the fletcheriser was
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boring, franz kafka was one. this image of france, so with cheekbones staring straight ahead. now i see him chewing endlessly and apparently there was a historian, margaret burnett who wrote about it and said that somehow there was a quote from france kafka's father saying he would hold of the newspaper so as not to look at the grim -- chewing his breakfast endlessly. >> host: have you ever made yourself squeamish on some of the topics you cover? >> host: the very first time, the very first chapter of staff, this was the body, i thought it had been done already. it wasn't an autopsy but the body they reusing had been given an autopsy so that is the shocking and disturbing sight
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because the whole body cavity had been gutted in a very real sense of the word, there -- the organs are in the bag and there is this open cavity and it is in your face. that was the first place i went. wasn't so much squeamish but almost the image would pop into my head and bidden for days afterwards and i remember thinking this might not have been the best idea, this book but that was one of the most sort of confrontational images as in this role would be the word. it stayed with me and it was a little disturbing, but what grosz's me out, nothing in any of the books so much as you ever
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had -- it is prepared, the filament when you pick -- across sonata is the way i heard it, the strands from the bold and the spoon, it is wrong and you keep thinking you 5 cool it quickly and won't happen and that is the end, i have to put aside. that i had some trouble with. >> host: how did former president james garfield make it into "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal"? >> he is the poster boy for something called rectal feeding. garfield, garfield, there was an assassination attempt, things were not right keeping food down, he couldn't eat forward so he was being fed back word and that is something, you can feed people, you are not absorbing a lot of nutrients, some things you can absorb you can keep
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someone alive for a while but it is not the same as feeding the obviously so garfield's position was of big advocate to the point where he wrote a book called rectal feeding about 100 pages on the topic which he believed was more interesting than any romance. that was the quote. >> host: you have the recipe for his -- >> guest: the assistant surgeon general. >> host: you can read this. >> guest: there should be a little mary roach cookbook. every book there are a few little recipes. in "bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex" 11 that are not won the two artificial semen recipes including they have the yield where it says yield a dozen cupcakes, this would be like yield when he jack
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gillette. anyway. >> host: you can read that recipe in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" for yourself. in california, appreciate your holdings. >> caller: today is my best friend's birthday and i have been watching you, we have the reading room. she could be your sister. i felt like i was sitting here with her, and i wanted to say i gave her food so i can't research to the book. she wanted to read stiff for a reading group and that was rejected because nobody wanted to read about dead bodies. >> host: what is wrong with
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people? >> caller: some of them were like we don't want to read about that. however, we have birthdays and christmas and i got hurt "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". i will give it to her later. but watching you it was like being with her but when i read sue, i came across dr. wilson, an obscure psychiatric -- i was intimately well acquainted with him because my best friend was his daughter and i couldn't believe where did you find this guy? >> caller: talked about the voices in the head. >> host: i apologize, i hung up on that caller.
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called back. so rouge. he is one who has i am remembering, talking about the voices people would hear and schizophrenia, he was wondering whether those leases were actually real, maybe memory was wrong, maybe it was affecting the brain in a way that enabled them to hear things the rest of us couldn't hear. he wrote where did i -- i don't know where i found wilson. i forget where i came across him but it was of fascinating, thoughtful, out of the box and cessation of the voices one hears with psychosis. >> host: karen jessica, md. you are on booktv on c-span2.
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>> i thoroughly enjoyed this interview, i read everything of mary roach's other than packing for mars. you mentioned the earlier you were reluctant to talk about the science underlying miracles. i am an ex conservative or. there was a small but interesting literature about the scientific underpinnings at least of some miraculously events, for instance sculptures that move or cry or cried blood. and i am interested in why you would be reluctant to write about that when you say in scooped i came away from the science saying i choose to believe. >> host: because i write with a kind of free-wheeling flippant irreverent all over the map
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casualness that i have found with spook sometimes people take offense at the very notion of being silly or having fun or doing something humorous on the topic. i don't when to offend anybody or make them feel that i have made fun of their religion or their beliefs and i don't feel comfortable, that is all. >> host: steve posts on our facebook page, steve maggoto calls the writing and offbeat subject matter, likes your sense of humor. can you talk about your sense of humor and how you determine what is acceptable and appropriate for what may potentially be seen as crossing the line? >> host: away that happens is when i am writing i don't rain myself in. i leave that to my editor who i
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has -- i have been with all along. a very good year for what is in mature, silly, not funny, offensive, very little material, what we talked about earlier is an example. surprisingly little materials that she crosses out and writes known. because i don't think of myself as the very good judge of that fact that i feel free to let it rip and she is my safety net, she is standing in for normal human beings like reading it and going i don't know about this. that is how it works with the humor. >> host: they you know john, the author? did you read the review that he wrote?
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>> guest: i read the nice parts. >> host: i use someone -- do you not -- >> guest: i don't read reviews in general. if there is a nice review in the times i will read that or book world war washington post, some of the major ones. i actually know john not personally but he blurbed spook and he was someone who was supposed to do the interview with me in the u.k. but he had a last minute conflict and baled so that is how i know john up to that point. i love john, the hysteric goat is my favorite book, especially sad to have him not be enthusiastic about "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". >> host: he writes she is beloved and justifiably so which is why i feel churlish and weirdly guilty for not enjoying
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the "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal" more, talks about juvenile medical student gallows humor and then said it is too much like a hifalutin ripley's believe it or not, lots of digestive system trivia but not much heart. >> guest: that is fair enough. it is a topic, the elementary canal as opposed to "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" or spook which deal with death, those are large topics, but it is a little harder to pull into it. but yes. it is not -- it be a 19 critiques? >> guest: not the ones where i can see where they're coming from and i understand that. what stays with me are not something like that, that doesn't really trouble me but
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somebody saying the 1 of the first reviews of stiff was in self magazine i think it was and the woman described me as perky. turkey. i am many things but i am not perky. that was particularly, because it seemed off. it just didn't seem right. i am trying to think of other -- other comments people have made. >> host: all of your books have been on the new york times best-seller list. do you have a favorite? >> guest: no. that proverbial thing of asking someone who is your favorite child. no i don't. your least popular book, in my case smooth, you have the special affection for because
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you feel bad for the round of the letter, you don't get the same, when i do someone who has read spook and enjoy it it, thank you. i don't get a lot of mail on smooth, particularly gratifying to hear from someone who took the time to write to you about that book, the book people don't know if it exists. >> host: donna in delaware. donna? >> caller: yes, i am here. >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: during the cold war i was reading soviet articles and i read soviet cosmonauts, one of the offices -- they had sex in space and had a child, don't know if it was from that particular contact at that was in the soviet press and shoe was a criminal at one point behind.
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a lot of things were said that were not necessarily true. they created -- of is not true. and that was quite interesting. they had cosmonauts, they did have sex in space. reportedly. >> guest: right. a couple you are describing, there were two cosmonauts that had both flown in space that did have a child but i never heard that it was conceived in the mission or that they had sex in this case. the part i heard was fact they were a couple, they had both been in space and they have a child together so there is a child of two astronauts but wasn't conceived in space in zero gravity. i don't know of those who have ne deed in zero gravity.
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>> host: in "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal," comment on our facebook page, response to the last chapter on the topic of fecal transplants, very quickly want to read a little bit of this. the first fecal transplant was performed in 1958 by a surgeon in the early days of antibiotics, patients develop diarrhea from the massive kill off of normal bacteria. it might be helpful to restock the debt with someone else's normals, if we had an idea, 93, and at the time -- rarely does medical science come of with a treatment so effective, inexpensive and free of side effects. first pushed, it has been 50 years since i esmond first pushed the plunger yet no u.s. insurance company recognizes the
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procedure. what is this? >> guest: the fecal transplant or bacterial therapy as it is euphemistically known is very effective at treating an infection with the bacteria, when antibiotics have failed multiple times, the process gets bacteria from a healthy:colon into a patient and the best way to do that is take the contents of the feces and that material is processed minimally, the blender involved was basically failing and the donors put in the blender, and carry it across town in a cooler to the patient who is waiting and the same thing, the same instrument used
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in a colonoscopy, the colonoscope has held plunger, and receiving the:. and think of it as immigration. bacteria, community, and taking over in someone else's's colon and it is dramatic within a day or two the person's problems, normally chronic diarrhea, between 15 to 30,000 people. year die from chronic infections. the fecal transplant is cheap, approved is free. it is very effective, there are no side effects assuming the donor doesn't have any problems, medical conditions so it is a fairly miraculous product but it is not just be a factor.
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i thought when i interviewed the doctor, why is it taking so long for this to be accepted? is it because of the effect of people repulsed by the notion of taking fecal material, and it is more than that. the way medicine happens and the way the process by which a new technique is accepted and normally there's a pharmaceutical company or a devicemaker who is spending the money to push it through the various levels you go through in order for the process to become something on boss hospital menu and here is the code that we build for and etc.. with this bear isn't that structure isn't there and no one is pushing for it. the guy i visited in minneapolis said i bill for a colonoscopy because that is essentially the
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most similar thing, kind of what he is doing. there is a container of stuff. anyway, the story has gone on. it is an interesting story and an amazing -- the technique is being tested now for i believe inflammatory bowel but it is in your early phases so it is not being done for anything other than this infection. >> host: how many projects are you working on at a time? something always on the back burner or one at a time? >> guest: i am usually just working on one, but i will be writing one chapter and resurging another doing a preliminary set up for another one. if things go well, i am starting, the idea for another book would be percolating and i
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am looking into that. when i in the final stages of one book. i am kind of one burner at a time. i don't do well with four burners going. i get confused. >> host: randy in illinois. please go ahead for your question with mary roach. >> caller: an interesting conversation. my question is about cadavers for body parts, especially body parts for transplantation. in the capitalist system we live in why can't people -- maybe they do, maybe they demand financial benefit for their families for the so-called use of their body or body parts and if not maybe they can make a stipulation, why can't they say if i am donating my body parts for transportation why can't they be associated with this transplant be free of charge to
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the recipient? >> guest: i rose and op-ed on that topic exactly given that there is a shortage of organs, there is a waiting list, don't have the numbers in my head anymore but it is a tragic situation, the number of people dying on the waiting list for organs and as an incentive why can't there be some way for people to receive some financial benefit or like you said for the families -- somehow compensate for encourage donations. the concern, any time you have many entering into the equation, somebody, some sort of black marcus or people will feel pressured, that whole business that happens overseas with people selling their kidneys being given some small amount of money from desperate persons
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selling a kidney for a watch band or something like that. there is that concern, that -- in this case, in the case of the person who is dead or legally dead, they are not undergoing surgery for a profit it seems like there should be perhaps a way to create an incentive for families and individuals in some way, maybe not monetary, maybe something else, medical care or something. i think some things should be openly discussed. i also think the model that exists in the european union, my understanding is it is an opt out system for organ donation. if you don't have a mark on your driver's license or don't specifically say i do not want my organs used for transplantation then the default is they will be used and that makes a lot of sense as long as
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everybody understands that is the system and they have a way to walk out, it would make a lot more organs available. that is the one topic, i don't get on my high horse very much. i am a goofball. organ donation is he essentially just surgery. it is not mutilation. it is not this awful thing your loved one is in during. first of all your loved one is dead, legally dead. whether or not they are being oxygenated, they don't necessarily look dead but it is opening up of a body chemical -- cavity and removing organs. it is surgery and we are fine with surgery when someone is alive so why is it this disturbing thing? it gets into the idea that the heart is still beating so therefore if i say you can take the heart that i killed my loved one. it is of terry noe shall issue but i like to encourage people to talk about it and think about
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it and explore why they feel what they feel about it. >> guest: todd williams and comments as a library in your books are an easy giveaway to patrons looking for something to read. keep up the good work. marshall tweets in do you have advice for writers. >> guest: advice for writers. one thing i would say to writers is to trust your instincts, particularly when you are trying to figure out what would i write a book about, there is a tendency, or myself i used to second-guess myself a lot and say that is possible, that is just a magazine piece or who would want to read that or that seems stupid and also another if thing people do is they tend to hand it out to a lot of their
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colleagues to read. most of it is fiction and nonfiction but if i had done that with "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" someone would have said this whole kind of cadaver humor seems really inappropriate, like a bad idea. i would take this out and take that out and i would then think i don't know, i they right? am i right? i am pretty insecure as a writer. i don't trust myself, if someone says this is not working, you should take that out, i tend to trust my editor. i know her to be a good voice and a good pair of eyes on my work but sometimes people solicit so much advice that they then begin to second-guess themselves. you don't want to be -- you don't want to be the person someone is trying to be like. you don't want to be someone else. sometimes an agent would contact
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me and say let's do the physics of star trek, let's do a book like that, do the biology of marcus will be, i pulled that out of my butt, that is not the way to do it. you want to be the physics, you want to be the guy who wrote the physics of star trek, not the person who wrote the book kind of like that, you don't want your book proposal to say this will be like mary roach's "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers". i would just encourage people to be their own unique wonderful quirky itself. >> host: leonard in naples, fla.. please go ahead, a few minutes left in the program. c-span2 congratulations on your program. >> guest: thanks. >> caller: a combination of great interviewer and a great offer. a challenging subject. i wrote a book based on my experiences as a physician and
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medical student where a professional brought in the painting of the anatomy lesson, a 400-year-old painting and we learned a great deal about structure and function and see what we could learn. we said come on, give us -- in new reach that easier muscle or something like that as a test and use those muscles so a professor showing us how these muscles were working thomas of your opening and closing the door so he looks at the back of her hand and palm and realize these muscles really were, and transpose and our conclusion is
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not this -- and so compressed with our having mastered his lesson, and function, he said her ray, you are going to be great physicians and surgeons and radiologists. i wanted to find more paintings by rembrandt to learn more about medicine to make my studies more color for. it wasn't successful. going to heroes and heroines of the bible or, one third of his masterpieces, 600 masterpieces, 200 were devoted to the heroes and heroines of the bible so i collected them, curators of the museums throughout the world and send me advanced reproductions. >> host: we are almost out of time.
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thank you for cheri that story. any response for that caller? >> guest: rembrandt had the muscles backwards? >> host: he is gone. >> guest: did it again. >> host: that is a euphemism. >> guest: familiar with the paintings but i don't have the knowledge to fact check it but it is fascinating to hear. >> host: finally, nate, is there a national clearinghouse for information about donating a body for science? >> guest: there should be. we added a page to the back of "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers," how to donate your body. it all depends, i will start by calling medical school to you, that is usually the anatomy department has a real body program usually and that is who you would contact about donating to medical school. they usually have a radius of a
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few hundred miles and they will come and pick up the body so it is done that way and i get questions like i will donate to the body farm which is an interesting wish people have but you have to live in tennessee, have to ship non embalms remains across the atlantic which is important so you have to live in the area of tennessee or be an automotive safety testing you move to the detroit area, have to situate yourself where the research is happening, it is more straightforward dissection and education. >> host: for the last two hours we have been talking with author and journalist mary roach. five nonfiction books beginning with "stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers" cannot ten years ago, spook came out in 2005, "bonk: the curious coupling of science and sex" in 2008, packing for mars:the curious science of life in a void in 2010 and finally just
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this past year "gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal". mary roach, thank you for being on booktv, thank you for joining us, enjoy the rest of your day. >> is there a nonfiction author or book you would like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at booktv@c-span.org or tweak as at twitter.com/booktv. >> daily news columnist stanley crouch. what is on your summer reading list? >> i am working on a novel. i have to figure out how to make it work. and a complex story of an interracial romance and the protagonist is this blonde woman
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from south dakota. and my entire lighting, when i was in the bar, all of a sudden mentioned my novel. i said he didn't know who i was, so he says have you read that? i heard about it. i don't know. and i said why did you? and really -- and in fact i know every person in that woman's family. imac all of them growing up. really? got them exactly right now. i didn't even tell that. it should be in front. and i said no novelist can get better praise than that, to have
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somebody -- you have to remember that. .. >> of imagine being -- and was told that a faraway